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JCU Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Training Forum 2022

28 April 2022

A future-focused forum in its fifth year will help shape current and new initiatives to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in North West Queensland.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Training Forum is facilitated by James Cook University’s General Practice training program and brings together policymakers and peak bodies with medical training providers and health services in Cairns.

Representatives from 16 ACCHOs and registered training posts from across North West Queensland will attend to hear from and share views with Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC), Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association (AIDA), Department of Health, Queensland Health, Australian College of Rural & Remote Medicine (ACRRM), The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and JCU.

The collaborative event examines the delivery of culturally appropriate medical training and the placement and training of non-Indigenous and Indigenous GP registrars in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health care settings.

Associate Professor Catrina Felton-Busch, recently appointed Director of Murtupuni Centre for Rural and Remote Health in Mount Isa, has worked for JCU for 21 years in leadership roles in Indigenous Health and opened the forum.

“Presentations and workshops over the two days will help JCU and others to hone our efforts in collaboratively delivering a fit-for-purpose, culturally safe and clinically competent workforce for the Aboriginal communities in our region and more generally for the rural and remote communities we serve more generally,” she said.

ACCHOs, who are primary health care services initiated and operated by the respective local Aboriginal community, will have their say about their experiences, priorities and expectations of the general practice training sector in getting GPs on their service.

“Having a GP registrar in the services in placement is ideal. They contribute to the workforce and in turn, are trained in comprehensive primary care model of care which makes them able to provide good primary care to anyone across their lifespan,” A/Prof Felton-Busch said.

“It’s important that all levels, from the decision-makers to education and service providers, work together in the best interests of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities. It’s a time of change within the GP training sector so an event like this that sets aside time for action-orientated conversation is very important.”

JCU’s College of Medicine and Dentistry Dean, Professor Sarah Larkins, said the shared commitment by forum participants, and other organisations participating in the broader conversation, is key to success.

“We aim to work together to deliver a sustainable workforce across disciplines for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, but also to increase the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health professionals across the region,” Professor Larkins said.

Working closely with Aboriginal and Islander Community Controlled Health Services, peak bodies and professional organisations in education, service and research activities is vital for achieving this goal.”

The forum will also be a platform for the launch of a new education initiative from QAIHC and JCU to enhance the training of GP registrars in providing culturally appropriate care. The Strategic Initiatives in Medical Education (SIME) project provides information to services and potential registrars on the experience of working in an ACCHO.

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JCU Stories

James Cook University’s GP training program supports registrars to live, learn and work alongside inspirational educators, supervisors and mentors in diverse regional, rural and remote locations across Queensland.

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